The president’s bumbling Syrian policy keeps getting worse.
So when Obama says he intends to degrade Assad’s ability to use chemical weapons, he cannot do that without “boots on the ground.” The best way to deliver precision-guided munitions against mobile targets is to have someone on the ground “lasing” the target and communicating with the aerial delivery platform.
Standoff weapons such as Tomahawk cruise missiles also are only effective against stationary targets, and you can bet by now that Syria’s mobile systems have been repositioned into areas that would yield high levels of collateral damage.
And let us not forget that Syria has one of the most sophisticated and intricate surface-to-air missile systems in the world thanks to our Russian friends. Any U.S. air campaign would not be a walk in the park. Only the boldness of the Israeli Air Force enabled that country’s airmen to enter Syrian airspace and attack targets.
Also remember that air power does not win a ground engagement, as we learned from the folly of Bill Clinton against the Serbs in the Balkans. I still remember the pictures of Serbian forces giving us their version of the “finger” as they conducted their retrograde operation. Their systems were intact.
And no better, Iran and Hezbollah are aligned with Assad. This is really a schism between Sunni and Shiite Islamists. The window of opportunity for our intervention closed some two years ago.
Is the use of chemical weapons against civilians horrific? Yes. But the level of brutality and beheadings that occur in most of the Islamic world are just as horrifying. One can read daily about atrocities being committed from Nigeria to Egypt, to the Gaza Strip, to Iraq and to Pakistan.
We cannot embark upon a venture under the guise of having a responsibility to protect unless we want to be all over the world – and the Obama administration has severely decimated our military capability.
We also cannot talk about Syria without examining the unintended consequences of Obama’s ill-conceived operation in Libya. Motivated by far fewer casualties than in Syria, Obama, without congressional approval, provided air and naval power to Islamists. They later showed their gratitude by attacking our consulate and murdering Ambassador Chris Stevens, information management officer Sean Smith, and former U.S. Navy SEALS Ty Woods and Glenn Doherty.
The Islamic terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, was a true national security interest, yet Obama showed no indignation, save against a crude video that his team said inspired the attack. He ordered no response or military action, and now he wants America to forget Benghazi even as he insists that we must act in Syria.
Obama actually referred to Benghazi and his abandoning of Americans under attack and dying as a “phony scandal.”
Strategically, if Obama wanted to have an influence, he would have maintained a residual force in Iraq, but campaign promises override strategic vision. Obama plays foreign policy checkers, not chess. He said his foreign policy involved “pivoting away from the Middle East,” and he has abdicated American influence in the region, to the detriment of Israel, by doing just that.
The real fight in the Middle East for America is against the Muslim Brotherhood and their spawn, and against Iran. They must be defeated.
You want to do something related to Syria? Provide logistical support to Jordan and the Syrian refugee camps. Start supporting the Egyptian Army in crushing the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist forces in the Sinai Peninsula. And at some time we will have to conduct a strategic strike against Iran, but let’s not tell them we are coming and what the targets are!
We must develop better alliances with the minority ethnic groups friendly to America – Assyrians, Copts, Kurds and others. Yes, I support an independent Kurdistan, which would be a great friend to America.
We also need to promote American energy security. That means developing our own resources and telling OPEC and the Organization of Islamic Countries to take a hike. Lastly, let’s reaffirm our commitment to our best ally in the Middle East, Israel.
America needs strategists and leaders who know how to play chess, not checkers.
Steadfast and Loyal,